John Wade Braxton, 85, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. He was born in the 11th month, on the 11th day, at 11 o’clock. His parents had been married for 11 months. He was uniquely and wonderfully made by God and it was no accident that 11:11 p.m. was the time of his departure to Heaven. He and his devoted wife, Judy, were married for over 66 years and spent every day of their lives together.
John was born in Alamance County and was the son of Raymond Harris Braxton and Madge Hargrove Braxton, both deceased. He was a member of Bethel United Methodist Church in Snow Camp where he taught Sunday School for over 60 years and served as Sunday School Superintendent for 30 years.
He was a graduate of Eli Whitney High School and was a retired dairy farmer, self-taught machinist, riflesmith and master gunsmith. He was considered a leading authority on North Carolina Long Rifles and his replicas and restorations of early firearms are among the best in the country. He became interested in North Carolina flintlock and muzzle loading long rifles while he was still in high school and built his first gun in shop class in high school when he was fifteen years old. He specialized in weapons built between 1400 and 1865. Several of his completely hand built rifles have won national matches sponsored by the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association in Friendship, Indiana. He participated in the National matches for 50 years and was a member of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association for 51 years. He was a member of the Historical Arms Collection of the Southeast and a former member of the Kentucky Rifle Association. Rifles built by him are all across North America. In addition, he built 44 military replica cannon carriages for State and National Park Services and numerous windmills for the family farm.
He was the oldest living member of the Alamance County Farm Bureau and served on the Board. He also served on the Alamance Genealogical Society, Alamance Properties Commission, and was a charter member of the Alamance Long Rifles Gun Club. He was President of the Alamance County Historical Association. One of his greatest honors was being a recipient of the North Carolina Living Treasure Award given to him in 1992 by UNC-Wilmington Center for Southeast North Carolina Archives and History. He stated that he tried to live up to it.
In addition to his wife, Judy, John is survived by his two children, Christopher Braxton, wife, Wanda, and Katrina Braxton Coble, husband Mark; four grandchildren, John Paul Braxton, wife, Kelly, Raymond Braxton, wife, Jessica, Kyle Coble, wife, Jamie and Kelly Coble Rogers, husband, Cale; six great grandchildren, Kaitlyn Coble, Kennedy Braxton, Greyson Coble, Aiden Braxton, Tate Rogers and Tessa Rogers; three step-great grandchildren, Makayla, Maddie and Andrew Spencer.
The family would like to express their love to all of John’s friends and family. A graveside service will be held and open to the public on Saturday, January 8th, 2022 starting at 2:00 p.m. at Bethel United Methodist Church, 6364 Snow Camp Road, Snow Camp, NC. 27349 with Reverend Wendy Bishop officiating. Please observe Covid precautions. Mr. Braxton may be viewed at Rich & Thompson Funeral Home and Crematory in Graham on Friday, January 7, 2022 from 3:00 until 5:00 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the Bethel Methodist Church Memorial Association Endowment Fund, c/o Emily Coble, Treasurer, 4671 Thompson Mill Road, Graham, NC 27253 or Gideons International on-line.
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